Retro portable gaming is having a bit of renaissance at the moment, between low-cost open source handhelds from China and high-end modding of authentic hardware. If you’re looking for the ultimate blend of the two, check out the Analogue Pocket. It’s what would happen if you designed the Game Boy with 2020 technology and aesthetics.
You might recognize Analogue as the makers of super-premium updates of classic home consoles, like the Analogue NT (NES), Super NT, (SNES) Mega SG (Genesis). The Pocket is the same principles applied to a 1990s portable game machine. Not to be confused with modern revivals based on emulators and ROMs, the Pocket runs original cartridges from the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance.
But it does so with a heavy helping of modern style and premium materials. The Pocket uses a modern 3.5-inch screen with ten times the original Game Boy’s resolution, full backlingting and a Gorilla Glass cover, USB-C charging, and up to 10 hours on a single charge. The system is compatible with adapter cards for cartridges from other consoles, too: the SEGA Game Gear, Atari Lynx, and Neo Geo Pocket and Pocket Color. IT even supports old-fashioned link cables for multiplayer.
The system can remap buttons via its internal OS, emulate the older look of certain games with pixel and sub-pixel grids, and load up homebrew games via its MicroSD card. For a bit of modern convenience, the system can go into a sleep mode so it doesn’t activate in your pocket when paused.
But wait, there’s more: slide the Analogue Pocket into its sold-separately dock, and you can play all those games on your TV with HDMI-out and compatibility with up to four wireless controllers. It also functions as its own MIDI music station, via the built-in Nanoloop synthesizer/sequencer or connected to external MIDI hardware via an adapter cable.
How much will all of this cost you? $200 for the Analogue Pocket, $100 for the HDMI dock, and an undetermined price for the other adapters and accessories. Considering how expensive high-end Game Boy mods can get, it’s pretty reasonable.
The sad news is that Analogue won’t be shipping out that beautiful hardware until May of 2021. Pre-orders go up on Monday, August 3rd. If the promo images are anything to go by, it’ll be worth the wait.